The Union 76 World Pit Crew Championship Competition at Rockingham
26 October 1997
Union 76 World Pit Crew Championship Competition North Carolina Motor Speedway October 25, 1997 ROCKINGHAM, NC The spotlight shines today on the Winston Cup pit crews as they go head-to-head with their fellow competitors in the Union 76 World Championship Pit Crew Competition held at North Carolina Motor Speedway. The rules are simple. Driver makes one lap around the 1.017-mile speedway and comes in for a pit stop. The seven-man over-the-wall crew makes a four tire change and adds 14 gallons of fuel. Infractions (loose lug nuts, fuel left in the gas can) result in time penalties. The team with the fastest elapsed time wins. Terry Labonte's Kellogg's crew won the competition last year with a record time of 22.056 seconds. Bill Elliott is the first driver to take to the track. A clean stop for the McDonald's crew. Their time is 20.870 seconds. Wally Dallenbach is next. The base time is 24.866. There are no penalties so that time will stand. Three-time champion Darrell Waltrip takes the green flag. He skids to a stop in between the lines. NASCAR officials find 4 loose lug nuts on the right rear tire. The Parts America crew is also being penalized several seconds for left over fuel. His total time is 67.377 seconds. Chad Little's base time is 23.914 seconds. No penalties so the John Deere team will move into second place with that stop. Next up is John Andretti. 22.513 seconds and a clean stop for Cale Yarborough Motorsports. Mike Skinner brings the Lowe's Chevy down pit road. He's down and away with a 26.264-second stop. There were two loose lug nuts on the right rear bringing their total time to 32.264 seconds. Ken Schrader slides into the pit stall and the Skoal Bandit crew goes to work. Their time is 22.983 seconds. One loose lug nut on the left front makes their total time 25.983 seconds. Ted Musgrave and the Family Channel/PRIMESTAR crew record a 22.757-second stop. No penalties. That will put them in Musgrave's teammate Jeff Burton is next on the track. The Exide Batteries crew executes their stop. A crew member inadvertently broke the timing line so NASCAR will go to the stopwatch for the time. There are three loose lugs -- 2 on the right rear and 1 on the left rear. Total time 31.374 seconds. Joe Nemechek brings the No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet down pit road and Team SABCO springs into action. Their time is 22.916 seconds. Thirteen liters of fuel left in the gas can will cost them 13 seconds. Total time: 35.916 seconds. Rusty Wallace is the next to go. Billy Wilburn is lightning fast on the left front and Rusty's down and away. Base time: 22.460 seconds. The right rear tire gets away and rolls across pit road. That will cost 3 seconds. No loose lugs. Total time: 25.460. Jeremy Mayfield brings the No. 37 Thunderbird to the attention of Paul Andrews and crew. Their time is 22.502. There are thee lug nuts loose on the right side -- one on the front and two on the rear -- which brings the total time to 31.502. Sterling Marlin's Kodak Gold Film crew makes their stop in 24.786 seconds. There are a total of five loose lug nuts. One each on the right front, right rear and right front plus two on the left rear. Final total is 39.786 seconds. Ricky Rudd brings the Tide Ride to a stop on pit road. Crew chief Jim Long watches his crew from atop the war wagon. They record a 23.036-second stop. One loose lug nut on the left front gives them a total time of 26.036. Rick Mast comes in and the Remington Arms bunch records a time of 25.392 seconds. No penalties. Kyle Petty smokes the tires as he skids to a halt and the Hot Wheels team completes their stop in 21.915 seconds. Three lug nuts on the right side are loose...and that will cost them second place so far. Total time: 30.915. Ricky Craven comes to a smooth stop in the pit stall. The base time is 21.844 seconds. Eight loose lug nuts -- 1 right rear, 3 right rear, 4 left rear -- are costly and bring the total time to 45.844 seconds. Next up are the Rainbow Warriors. Gordon stalls the car briefly as the the jack comes down but he gets away. Their base time of 21.178 seconds is increased by 3 seconds for one loose lug nut on the right rear -- they'll receive a total time of 24.178 seconds. It's a clean stop for Jimmy Spencer and the Travis Carter Racing crew. Their time of 22.448 seconds moves them into the runnerup position. The Stavola Brothers team services the No. 8 Circuit City Ford driven by Hut Stricklin in 26.255 seconds. No penalties against the Billy Ingle-led crew and the time is good. Ernie Irvan comes down pit road and the Texaco/Havoline team goes to work. 23.514 seconds. They'll be assessed 3 seconds for one loose lug nut on the left rear resulting in a 26.514-second stop. The No. 36 Pontiac is on the track. Cope brings the Grand Prix down pit road. 22.249 seconds for the Skittles crew. A clean stop and the time will stand. That's good enough for second place so far. Bobby Hamilton is next. The STP crew has a disappointing stop -- 26.537 seconds. Two loose lugs on the right rear and one on the left rear. Total: 35.537 seconds. Lake Speed sails down pit road and the Melling Racing team goes to work. A little slow on the right rear and the time is 25.072 seconds. One loose lug nut on the right front will add three seconds and brings their total time to 28.072 seconds. Johnny Benson guides the Pennzoil Pontiac into the pit stall. The jack goes down but Johnny stalls the car. He gets the engine refired and trips the timing light. No penalties gives them a time of 26.665 seconds. Michael Waltrip comes to the attention of the Wood Brothers Racing crew. He's gone in 22.857 seconds. They'll give up sixth place overall for 7 loose lug nuts and record a total time of 43.857. Morgan Shepherd's crew will start 4 seconds in the hole for being late to present their tires for inspection. Their base time 25.782 seconds. The team did secure all lug nuts properly but will also be assessed a five-second penalty for excess fuel spilled on pit road. Total: 34.782. Steve Grissom comes to a nice, smooth stop. The Kodiak crew completes service in 29.282 seconds. Crew chief Charley Pressley reports that they had a lug nut get stuck in the wrench which resulted in the slow stop. No penalties. Out on the track is Greg Sacks in the No. 40 Coors Light Monte Carlo. He's down and gone in 24.453 seconds. It's a clean stop. It's the Kellogg's crew's turn to defend their title. Terry Labonte flies down pit road and comes to a stop. A crew member has to chase down a tire that got away but the time is good: 20.909. Just a tick off (0.039-sec) the time set by the McDonald's crew. All the lugs are tight and the time is good for second overall. Robert Pressley is in and the Jasper Motorsports team records a base time of 23.339 seconds. No penalties on the stop. The Robert Yates Racing No. 88 bunch awaits Dale Jarrett. He's in and they go to work. 22.756 seconds. They'll receive a penalty for leaving a liter of fuel left in the gas can. Total: 23.756. Mark Martin brings the No. 6 Valvoline Thunderbird into the pits. Crew chief Jimmy Fennig orchestrates a 22.335-second stop. One loose lug nut on the right rear increases the time to 25.335 seconds. Ward Burton's MBNA team records a time of 21.446 seconds. They left one loose lug nut on the right front leaving them with a time of 24.446 seconds. Dick Trickle's No. 90 Heilig-Meyers Ford screeches to a halt. Their time is 24.280 seconds. One loose lug nut on the right front. Total: 27.280. Bobby Labonte, the pole winner for tomorrow's event, comes in and the Joe Gibbs Racing team posts an excellent time of 21.096 seconds. No penalties. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus crew gets the final chance to unseat Bill Elliott's McDonald's team. Richard Childress Racing won this event four years in a row between 1985 and 1988. Dale Earnhardt gets into the pits cleanly. Disaster as the left rear tire changer has a problem and he pounds the ground in frustration. The base time of 26.476 will increase by three seconds for a loose lug nut on the left rear. The McDonald's Racing crew can start singing, "We Are The Champions". Rounding out the top five are Hendrick Motorsports' Kellogg's team, Joe Gibbs Racing, MB2 Motorsports, and Travis Carter Racing.